Minister ponders the need for more wind farms ~
The World Council for Nature (WCFN) supports the Spanish government’s no-nonsense assessment of the energy situation in Spain. In two separate interviews on January 18th and 19th, the Energy Minister of the new government declared that there may be no need in his country for more investment in renewable energy, at least for several years.
On Wednesday José Manuel Soria, Minister of Industry, Energy and Tourism, said on Spanish television “TVE Canal 24h” that Spain has as much as 100,000 MW of generating capacity, while its peak demand is less than half that figure. This is why his Ministry is wondering, he announced, if Spain must keep adding new capacity, especially in the subsidized renewable sector which is the most costly of all (1).
The following day, on TV channel “Telecinco”, he repeated the same considerations, and insisted that Spain must remain competitive on the global market. Our electricity, he said, costs on average more than that of France, one of our principal competitors, and this is hurting our economy as production processes generally have important energy components (2).
He also pointed out that, if Spain would stop now adding to its generating capacity in renewable energy, “it would take eight or ten years for the European average to reach our level” (3).
Commenting on the story, a regional newspaper reminded its readers that Spain has an accumulated “tariff deficit” of 24 billion euros. This deficit is the difference between what electricity has cost to produce in recent years, and what has been charged to consumers (4). “Subsidies to renewable energy have caused this gaping hole in the country’s finances”, adds Mark Duchamp, chairman of WCFN, “and this weighs on the sovereign debt”.
The World Council for Nature is supporting a platform, SALVAREXT, whose objective is to save “the European Serengeti”. This is the byname some conservationists gave to Extremadura, a region of Spain which shelters five species of eagles, three of vultures, two of storks, a critically important population of great bustards, 80,000 wintering cranes, iberian linces, etc.
“Spared from wind farms to date, this vital habitat is about to become a minefield for birds”, laments Duchamp. “As many as 97 wind farm projects are in the pipeline, totalling 1,700 MW. Given the low winds prevailing in Extremadura, the average load factor would be 15% at best, i.e. 255 MW. This is less than 50% of what can produce reliably, on demand, a single gas-fired power plant. Is it worth destroying Europe’s most important bird sanctuary for so little electricity?” asks Mark. WCFN hopes that Energy Minister Soria will effectively stop subsidizing this crime against Biodiversity.
Mark Duchamp +34 693 643 736
World Council for Nature
(2) – Europapress, 19 January 2012: http://www.europapress.es/economia/energia-00341/noticia-economia-energia-soria-duda-necesidad-instalar-mas-potencia-electrica-prima-20120119104638.html
(3) – Newspaper La Expansión, 19 January 2012: http://www.expansion.com/2012/01/19/empresas/energia/1326964046.html
(4) – Newspaper La Opinión de La Coruña, 20 January 2012: http://www.laopinioncoruna.es/economia/2012/01/20/gobierno-abre-puerta-frenar-nuevos-parques-eolicos-caida-consumo/571674.html